Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Protecting Parts of a Document.

Protecting Parts of a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 24, 2013)

1

Word allows you to protect parts of a document so that they cannot be changed. This is done through Word's implementation of its forms feature. The idea behind forms is that you can specify the information to be entered in a form, using special controls, and then you protect the form so that you can only enter data by using those controls; all other information in the protected portion of the form cannot be changed. If you didn't define any controls for the form, then all the information still remains protected, and you end up with a document that cannot be changed.

When you protect your document, you can also specify that only specific sections of the document be protected. Sections, in Word, are defined by the presence of section breaks. You insert a section break by displaying the Page Layout tab of the ribbon and clicking the Breaks tool. Once your document is divided into sections, you can protect a section by following these steps:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Restrict Editing tool, in the Protect group. Word displays the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane at the right of your document.
  3. In section 2 of the task pane (Editing Restrictions), select the check box. This enables the drop-down list in the section.
  4. Using the drop-down list, choose Filling in Forms. Word makes the Select Sections link available, right under the drop-down list. (The link is only made available if your document contains multiple sections.)
  5. Click the Select Sections. Word displays the Section Protection dialog box.
  6. Make sure that only the section (or sections) you want protected are selected in the list of sections.
  7. Click on the OK button. Word closes the Section Protection dialog box.
  8. In the task pane, click the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button. Word displays the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box.
  9. Enter a password for the protection, if desired. (You'll need to enter it twice.)
  10. Click OK.
  11. Close the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane.

At this point you cannot change anything in the document sections you specified in step 6, unless there were forms controls in that section.

Notice that protection is done in Word on a section-by-section basis. (If there is only one section in the document, then the whole document is protected.) This means that you cannot protect other objects, such as text boxes or table cells. There is a way, however, that you can protect an entire row in a table. All you need to do is insert a continuous section break at the beginning of the row you want to protect, and then insert another continuous section break at the beginning of the row following the one you want to protect. You can then follow the above steps to protect the section you just created—the one containing a single table row.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7071) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Protecting Parts of a Document.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing How Word Presents Your Document

Tired of the old black-on-white text displayed by Word? Depending on your program version, you can configure Word to show ...

Discover More

Refreshing PivotTable Data

If you modify the data on which a PivotTable is based, you'll need to refresh the table so it reflects the modified data. ...

Discover More

Adding a Tile to the Start Screen

The Start screen can serve as your launching pad for whatever programs you desire. Here's how to add tiles for your favorite ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE WORDTIPS (RIBBON)

Entering a Name in the Header of a Locked Form

When you lock a document as a form, then Word limits what you can do with that document. That includes not being able to ...

Discover More

Saving and Using a Form

After you have created your custom form, you will need to save it so that you can use it as often as needed. Word makes this ...

Discover More

Using Mandatory Form Fields

When using form fields to gather information from users of your documents, you may want to make sure that some of the fields ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 - 7?

2017-01-20 21:24:37

Paula

Is there a way of doing the above but have a line broken into 2 sections. EG a form where you have say Name: and want them to be able to then type their name tabbed over. I can only do sections on new lines.

Thank you


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing